Fighting Euroscepticism: The Impact of EU Institutional Advertising on Support for European Integration

Enrique Hernández (UAB) and Roberto Pannico(ICS-Lisboa) 

13th de February, 10:30h, Sala Annexa (B1/-109) de la Facultat de Ciències Polítiques i Sociologia de la UAB
Amidst growing Euroscepticism, European institutions launched an advertising campaign through social media platforms highlighting the benefits of European integration. In this paper we test the effectiveness of these ads in reducing Euroscepticism through an online survey experiment fielded in Spain in May 2018 (N = 2,128). Participants in the treatment groups were exposed to some of the ads produced by European institutions. All ads present a positive image of the European integration process in about 30 seconds. However, while some ads directly emphasize how citizens directly profit from this process thanks to the policies implemented by the EU, others emphasize the favorable cost-benefit ratio of European integration for member states. Our findings indicate that all ads increase diffuse support for European integration. However, the effect of the ads emphasizing the tangible policy outcomes of European integration are stronger than those highlighting its favorable cost-benefit ratio. Moreover, the analyses indicate that some of the positive effects of the ads on diffuse support for European integration are mediated by changes in the perceptions of the policy responsiveness of the EU. In a context of growing Euroscepticism, these findings, based on realistic treatments administered in a realistic environment, have important policy implications.